Apple’s aging iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus never had the largest batteries, even when brand new. However — as Apple has shown time and time again — size doesn’t always matter. The company spent years using smaller batteries than its Android rivals yet never lost much battery life. How did the iPhone 7 battery perform? Let’s find out.
We spent a few weeks putting Apple’s 2016 flagship through both regular usage and dedicated testing. While the results may not be perfect for every phone, they should give you an idea of what to expect.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus battery testing results
Despite Apple’s love for small batteries, the Cupertino company finally showed some growth with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It increased the iPhone 7’s battery by 19% over the previous iPhone 6S, landing on a 1,960mAh unit. The iPhone 7 Plus battery grew as well, jumping by 5% over the iPhone 6S Plus to 2,900mAh.
We’ll be comparing the two against the LG G5, Google Pixel XL, and Huawei Mate 9. LG’s device packs a 2,800mAh battery, while the Pixel XL (3,450mAh) and Mate 9 (4,000mAh) feature significantly larger cells. All three devices are running on Android with their default skins and software.
Now that we’ve met our competitors, let’s check out the results of test number one: Wi-Fi browsing. We used a custom script to set each device’s brightness to a standard 200 nits and opened a series of web pages in a loop. We then allowed the script to run until the batteries drained from 100% to dead. Here are the results we found:
- Apple iPhone 7: ~7 hours, 30 minutes
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus: ~9 hours
- Huawei Mate 9: ~14 hours
- LG G5: ~7 hours, 45 minutes
- Google Pixel XL: ~10 hours, 45 minutes
You may notice that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus battery life difference is not as significant as you would expect. However, the iPhone 7 Plus has to power a much larger Full HD display. Apple’s significantly smaller battery performed remarkably well against the LG G5. The LG flagship barely matched the iPhone 7 while having a battery size close to the iPhone 7 Plus. Of course, the LG G5 packs a large QHD display that hurts battery life, but it shows Apple’s ability to optimize its devices.
Our gaming test involves setting the brightness on each device to 200 nits. We then run our custom battery test, which simulates gameplay continuously until the battery is empty. These are the results we found:
- Apple iPhone 7: ~10 hours, 15 minutes
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus: ~12 hours, 40 minutes
- Huawei Mate 9: ~5 hours, 15 minutes
- LG G5: ~4 hours
- Google Pixel XL: ~4 hours, 45 minutes
Gaming seems to give the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus the most impressive battery boost over its competition. Apple’s devices achieved double — or more — battery life than the Android devices across the board. Despite the much smaller batteries, Apple optimized the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to perform for hours on end, and they easily topped the market back in the day.
Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus battery charge times
So we’ve seen that Apple’s battery lasts a while on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but how long does it take to charge? Android phones have come with fast charging for a few years now, but Apple refused to jump on board. Sure, this has changed in recent generations, but Apple only included a measly 1A charger with its 2016 devices.
There’s no real test to explain here, so here’s our data:
- Apple iPhone 7: ~150 minutes
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus: ~185 minutes
- Huawei Mate 9: ~90 minutes
- LG G5: ~87 minutes
- Google Pixel XL: ~112 minutes
If you’ve been searching for a category where Android tops the iPhone, it would appear that this is it. Apple’s devices take significantly longer to recharge despite having two of the smallest batteries on the list. In fact, the iPhone 7 Plus takes more than twice as long to recharge as the Mate 9 and LG G5. You could always try using a third-party wall charger, but you may still find yourself spending quite a while at an outlet.
Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus average battery life
We found that both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus performed impressively well in our controlled tests, but what do they do in real life? Not everyone uses their phone strictly for gaming or web browsing, after all. Instead, we have to include social media, phone calls, emails, and more in our testing.
Over our few months of daily testing, we’ve noticed an interesting trend with the iPhone 7 Plus. While we had no problems at first, the battery life dropped drastically once we reached the meager 32GB storage limit. Unfortunately, this tends to be a common problem with smartphones, but it’s magnified due to the limited storage space.
On average, we managed about 12 to 18 hours of battery life with about 6 to 8 hours of actual usage. Usage isn’t strictly screen-on time, though, as Apple reports usage as active use combined with background apps. As you inch closer to the storage limits, you may find that you only get 10 to 15 hours of battery life with 5 to 6 hours of usage.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus battery wrap up
Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may have some of the smallest batteries among 2016 devices, but that doesn’t mean the worst battery life. As Apple has proved in this case, the proper optimization can go a long way. While they can no longer hold a candle to modern gaming phones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus may have been the best gaming devices of 2016. The biggest flaw among the two is arguably the minimal storage size.